tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN July 6, 2011 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT
the chair: the gentleman from new york is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. madam speaker, i'm sort of surprised by this amendment. it seems to me that if we want to have control over the contracts and the procurement process, if we want congress to be able to know what's going on, if we want to be able to save money, which is what we keep talking about, you want the process that we had here. mr. nadler: perhaps you want an improved process but you want inventory. certainly no one will deny that some, perhaps many of the private contracts that the pentagon lets have been wasteful. . the inventory ties calculated to reduce the waste, reduce the wasteful expenditures and enable us to have better oversight. so why you would want to change that -- and i'm given to understand that this amendment
originated during the bush administration and it was a good innovation. congress ought to be able to watch more closely what any government agency that is spending the kind of money that the pentagon is spending, hundreds of billions of dollars, much of it through private contracts, we ought to be able to watch what they are doing, watch it closely and rein it in and say that contract is being well administered or it isn't. so why would we want to eliminate that provision that has worked well? it hasn't worked as well as we wanted. granted, we need to improve it. maybe someone can come up with some language to improve it, but to say we don't need that oversight, that inventory of contracts, let the pentagon do that in the dark of night and let the pentagon have their contracts and then look at it -- it seems rather wasteful and not
calculated to save the taxpayers money. why we would want to do it, i don't know. i have to oppose this amendment and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. any other member wishing to speak to the gentleman's amendment. if not, the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from texas. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. and the amendment is agreed to. the gentleman from washington. mr. dicks: i ask for a recorded vote. the chair: a recorded vote is requested. pursuant to clause 6, rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from texas will be postponed. for what purpose does -- the clerk will read. the clerk: page 104, line 18, section 8102, no national intelligence program funds in this act may be used for essential business management information technology system that is not registered with the director of national
intelligence. no funds may be obligated or expended for financial management automated information system more than $3 million without the business transformation investment review board. section 8103, none of the funds may be distributed to the association of community organizations for reform now or its subsidiaries. section 8104, funds appropriated for operation and maintainance for the defense health program up to $132 million shall be available for transfer to the joint department of defense department of veterans affairs medical facility demonstration fund. section 8105, the secretaries of the army, navy, air force and the directors of the defense agencies and field activities are to report to the committees within 60 days, their plan for documenting the number of full-time contractor employees.
section 8106, section 310-b of the supplemental appropriations act, 2009, public law 111-32, 124 set 1871 as amended by public law 112-10 is amended by striking two years both places it appears and inserting three years. section 8107, the office of the director of national intelligence shall not employ more senior executive and general schedule 15 equivalent employees than are specified. section 8108, none of the funds made available by this act may be obligated or expended to pay a retired general or flag officer to serve as a senior mentor advising the department. section 8109, appropriations may be used for the purchase of heavy and light armored vehicles for the physical security of
personnel or for force protection purposes up to $250,000 per vehicle. section 8110, amounts appropriated for military personnel under title 1 of the act not to exceed 1% of each appropriation shall remain available until september 30, 2013. section 8111, amounts appropriated for operation and maintenance defense-wide, $33 million shall be available to the secretary to make grants, conclude cooperative agreements and to assist the civilian population of guam in response to the military buildup of guam. section 8112, none of the funds may be used by the secretary to operate more than 1,000 parking spaces provided by the brac 31 project and lease of spaces in the immediate vivents. section 8113, none of the funds
may be available for obligation or expenditure to relocate air force program offices or acquisition management functions of major weapons systems to any location other than the air force command site until 30 days after the secretary submits the initial report. section 8114, not later than 120 days after enactment of this act, the secretary shall resume monthly reporting of the numbers of civilian personnel end strength for every appropriation account used to finance civilian salaries. section 8115, in addition, $10 million is appropriated for research, development, test and evaluation army to remain available until september 30, 2013. section 8116, none of the funds are available to establish new federally funded research and
development center, ffrdc. section 8117, the secretary shall study and report the feasibility of using commercially available telecommunications expense, management solutions across the department. section 8118, none of the funds may be used to plan, prepare for or take any action to undertake or implement the separation of the national intelligence program budget from the department of defense budget. section 8119, none of the funds in title 2 of this act for operation and maintenance may be used for information operations, military information support operations activities. section 8120, upon a determination by the director of national intelligence, that action is necessary and in the national interests, the director may transfer $1 billion of the funds made available in this act
to the intelligence community and associated agencies for intelligence functions. section 8121, to reflect savings from revised economic assumptions the total amount appropriated in title 2 of this act is reduced by $501, 800,000 and reduced by $484 million and total amount appropriated in title 4 of this act is reduced by $323 million. section 8122 in addition to amounts provided elsewhere, there is appropriated $250 million for operation and maintenance defense-wide. section 8123, none of the funds may be used to transfer, release or assist in the transferor release to or within the united states its territories,
possessions, kalid sheik muhammad or any other and two, is or was held on and after june 24, 2009 at guantanamo bay, cuba, by the department. section 8124, none of the funds may be used to transfer any individual detained at guantanamo to the custody or effective control of the individual's country of origin unless the secretary submits to congress the certification described by not later than 30 days before the transfer of the individual. section 8125, none of the funds may be used to modify any facility of the united states to house any individual for the purposes of detention or i am prisonment and the custody or under control of the department.
the prohibition shall not apply to any modification of facilities at the united states naval station, guantanamo bay, cuba. section 8126, in general, funds made available to the department under operation and maintenance defense-wide in title 2, $1 million shall be available to conduct a forward-looking independent assessment of the current and perspective situation on the ground in afghanistan and pakistan. not later than 120 days after enactment of this act, the entity described in subsection 8, shall submit to the president and the congress, a report. sense of congress, it is the sense of congress that the entity should be modeled on the iraq study group. section 8127, not more than $200 million may be expended -- the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman from texas rise. mr. carter: i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will report
the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 31 printed in the congressional record offered by mr. carter of texas. strike lines 6 through 9 relating to military musical units. the chair: the gentleman from texas is recognized for five minutes. mr. carter: i rise to address an issue i think is very important to the patriotic men and women who fight and defend our country. representative mccollum, in good graces, asked that we restrict the military band funding by $120 million and in an attempt to help with the savings. but the congressional budget office has informed us that this reduction, this $120 million reduction will not save the american taxpayers one red cent nor will it reduce the overall d.o.d. spending. the facts about our bands are
that they are an integral part of the patriotism that keeps our soldiers' hearts beating fast. for example, over 10,000 funerals are held per year and these bands attend these funerals. and many of us unfortunately in this body have had to attend military funerals in the past and they know how much that music means to the parents and the loved ones of our lost heroes. welcome home celebrations at fort hood, i had the real great pleasure at being at welcome home celebrations, which are very dramatic. the buses pull up across the parade ground in the dark and the band strikes up military music and out of the dark comes marching our soldiers into the parade ground. and the tears flow. and parents and children of the soldiers and the loved ones of
soldiers, tiers come in their -- tears come in their eyes. the concerts, the ceremonies, the funerals, the welcome-home celebrations are all part of what makes our military -- the patriotic body that it is. the individual bands perform as many as many as 1,200 musical missions. military bands also perform at u.s.o. and other places. the number of bands, the army has 100, 32 active duty, 51 national guard and 17 reserves. air force, 24, navy 14 and the marines 14. speaking of the marines, friday before last, i had the first time opportunity for me to go to the parade at the marine bar racks here in -- baracks in washington, d.c., and everyone
should aattend it and that is the most patriotic striking thing you will experience. and to lose something like that will be a tragedy for this country. the total cost for this -- for the bands is $320 million. and $282 million of those dollars is personnel costs. something that many don't understand is that these band members that perform in at least two of the services i'm familiar with, army and marine corps have other duties. some of them are rifle man. in the army, most of these people work in security or military police. and if the bands were not performing, they would still be in the military and still have personnel costs, housing costs and other costs that would be part of the d.o.d. expenses. so there is -- this is no extra that we're doing here. these people are still going to
be employed by the military and still going to have those costs. that's why there is no real savings here. but we are saving something that's important to this country and that is, this is what makes patriotic people join the military. this is what causes young men and women to have their hearts beat fast on behalf of our country and to lose our bands would be a tragedy. and therefore, i am asking that we adopt this amendment and that we replace these funds for the military bands so we are able to continue this long tradition that goes back to the beginning of our country to having bands play to celebrate military events. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from texas yeelts -- yields back the balance of his time. . .
mr. young: i support the gentleman's amendment. i yield back. the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman rise? mr. dicks: i rise in opposition to the gentleman's amendment. i'm glad that the sponsor of the amendment has arrived an we will let her talk about this. section 8127 limits spending for military bands to $200 million for fiscal year 2012. now that's a lot of money. when you think about -- and i'm a person who believes in music, believes in our bands. i've been at fort lewis, out in my part of the country, you joint base lewis-mccord, and there's no doubt that the music adds to the event. but we're in a tough fiscal period here during the full
committee markup, this was agreed to by a voice vote. the amendment parallels similar language included in section 599c in the house-passed national defense authorization act for fiscal year 2012. we had the authorization committee look at this, we've had the appropriations committee look at it. and i think -- i think that the -- we ought to support the position that came out of the full committee and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from washington yields back the plans of his time. for what purpose does the yealt from minnesota a member of the committee, rise? >> i move to strike the last word. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized for five minutes.
ms. mccollum: this amendment is not one i lightly came up with. at a time when we're cutting back on wmple i.c. for women and children, when we're cutting back on education, i felt i had a duty to look at opportunities to cut back on spending. i have come up with a few ideas, i know they haven't been the most popular, but one was cutting back the amount of money we spend on military bands. i enjoy military bands, i've listened to a lot of them since birth. but the army has over 100 bands employing 4,600 professional musicians and support staff, the navy and marine corps have professional bands, we all take great pride in them. congress needs to take control of this portion of the budget. it's grown substantially over
the years. i think we need to find what is the right note to have with military bnds. that's why this amendment did cut but also continued to povide $200 million to the pentagon to continue this fine tradition. as families and communities across the country see critical resources being reduced or eliminating, including music in public education schools across the country, i think it's time to ask the pentagon to make a small sacrifice in its musical budget so i would ask the committee to support the original language of the bill and reject the carter amendment. i yield back. the chair: the gentlelady yields back the balance of her time. for what purpose does the gentleman from new york rise? >> i move to strike the last word. the chair: the gentleman is reck thesed for five minutes. >> i'll be brief. i'm told the amount in the bill here, $200 million, is the
amount being spent now, so this is not a reduction. second, i'd like to add one thing to what the quelt from -- the yom from minnesota said. mr. nadler: i went to a food bank in coney island, there was a line out the door, they were giving food pacts three tais out of every month, trying to find a way to give it four days a month. we're cutting the budget for women and children, for food aid, for food stamps, we can maintain the military bands and not exup and down them. i loveon phillips sousa, i love military bands, i love marching bands but people have to eat. and we are being savaged in the budget we are passing and in the negotiations on the debt ceiling, we're being savage. on things for people to eat.
this seems the least we can do. i oppose -- i'll yield. mr. carter: i hear what you're saying about good programs being cut and reduced and if this put money in the pockets of those programs that would be one thing usm but the facts are the cuts we do hear do not chame any amount of spending d.o.d. does. these people continue to have military jobs and continue to get a paycheck. mr. nadler: the limitation in the bill will make sure it doesn't expand and the fact is that with all the negotiations going on and the debt ceiling and everything el, there's going to be pressure to cut everything and this amendment simply says we can expand here even though we're cutting far more important things. i think the language in the bill is sufficient, the committee did a wise job, i
urge opposition to the amendment and yield pack. the chair: the gentleman yields back. does any other member wish to speak to the amendment? if not, the question is on the all the offered by the quelt from texas, those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the ayes visit. the amendment is agreed to. for what purpose does the gentleman from florida rise? mr. young: madam chairman, i move that the committee do now rise. the chair: the question is on the question that the committee rise. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the ayes have it. the motion is adopted and the committee rises.
the speaker pro tempore: madam chair. the chair: the committee of the whole house on the state of the union having had under consideration h.r. 2219 direct me to report it has come to no resolution -- resolution therein. the speaker pro tempore: the chair of the committee of the whole house on the state of the union reports that the committee has had under consideration h.r. 2219 and has come to no resolution thereon.
the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to clause of rule 20, the chair will postpone further proceedings today on motions to suspend the rules on which a recorded vote or the yeas and nays are ordered. or on which the vote incurs objection under clause 6 of rule 20. record votes on postponed questions will be taken later.
the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does gentlelady from florida seek recognition? ms. ros-lehtinen: i move the house suspend the rules and pass h.res. 268. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the resolution. the clerk: house resolution 268, reaffirming the united states commit mvent of the to groisht settlement of the israely-palestinian conflict through direct israeli-palestinian negotiations and for other purposes. the chair: the chair recognizes the gentlelady from florida. ms. ros-lehtinen: i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislation days within which to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on house resolution 268 and i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the
gentlelady is recognized. ms. ros-lehtinen: i rise in strong support of house resolution 268 sponsored by majority leader cantor and house minority leader hoyer. we face a perilous juncture in the middle east. our adversaries are far from dormant and focused on an international effort to isolate and demonize israel. that is why it is all the more important for the united states to stand by our democratic ally at this critical time. let's get the facts straight, madam speaker. as secretary clinton noted, this israeli government has made unprecedented concessions in pursuit of peace. israel has always been willing and able to make the tough sacrifices. israel has proven its commitment to peace. unfortunately, israel does not have a partner for peace and security as the palestinian
leadership continues to never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. they can utter all the right words to the obama administration and to the europeans who appear gull i believe enough to believe. but the problem is whenever the palestinian leadership past and present has been asked to sign a peace agreement with israel, it has always refused. and they continue to refuse to recognize israel as a jewish state, yet they say israel recognizes palestinian state. and the media they control publishes propoganda. the palestinian authority has rejected every offer of peace from israel. the p.a. has refused to negotiate directly with israel. the p.a. has refused to recognize israel's right to exist as a jewish state and failed to crackdown on
anti-israel insite meant and has intolerated and encouraged such behavior. it has supported boy cots of israeli goods and the palestinian authority prime minister whom some consider a moderate, participated in a mass burning of such goods. instead of negotiating directly with israel, the palestinian authority is pursuing unilateral recognition of a palestinian state from various foreign governments with an eye to recognition of such a state by the u.n. this fall. palestinian leaders also keep threatening violence to extract concessions. they have not only failed to recognize israel's right to exist as a jewish state, but recently signed a coalition agreement with hamas which is commit todd israel's destruction. to demonstrate they are true partners for peace, what
palestinian leaders must do is simple, madam speaker, the opposite of what they are doing. sit down and negotiate directly with israel without pre-conditions and encourage palestinians to accept israel instead of tolerating and encouraging violent extremism and anti-israel incitement. we must no longer make additional concessions that would compromise our democratic'sial eye safety and security. recent calls for israel to return to the 1967 borders are unacceptable and dangerous. continuing to provide assistance to the palestinians, assistance amounting to $2.5 billion in the last five years alone is certainly not the answer. congress must not agree to the administration's 2012 budget
request, which would provide yet another $400 million bailout to the west bank and gaza, including another $200 million directly to the p.a. there are also many other steps that congress and the administration can and must take to support our ally israel and to encourage the advancement of peace and security in the region. the u.s. could show its support for the jewish state's sovreignty and right to exist by moving our embassy to jerusalem, israel's eternal and undivided capital. we should demand that the united nations stop its relentless activities to demonize israel and the jewish people and put our money where our mouth is. the most example of this bias is a cartoon posted by richard frost which was taken down minutes ago and the u.n., human rights council has appointed mr.
falk as an expert, unquote to investigate and condemn israel and i'm sure that the viewers could see or pull it up on the internet what this cartoon depicts. it depicts americans and jews as blood thirsty dogs and that is not the first time that mr. falk has spread such venom. he has compared the treatment as the holocaust and questioned the veer asity of the 9/11 attacks and continues to work for the human rights council with his expenses and staff paid by u.s. taxpayers. and has the u.n. high commissioner of human rights ever condemned falk and ask him to condemn his post. never. and i understand that he says now that his account was hacked
into and he has taken that drawing down. but i say enough is enough. the administration should withdraw from the bias human rights council and congress should withhold funding from the council and other u.n. bodies that do not advance our national security interests and conditions u.s. contributions on real reforms. what a concept. and timely, madam speaker, instead of dealing directly with the muslim brootshood which seeks israel's destruction and condemn the killing of bin laden, the u.s. should deny all legitimacy to that group no matter what fake name or label it now uses as it tries to camoflauge itself into a legitimate political party in egypt. and i'm glad that this body is doing the right thing today, madam speaker. we have much to do, much more to do to defend our national security interests and our
indispensible ally, israel. i thank the gentleman from virginia and our distinguished majority leader for authoring this important resolution. with that, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from florida reserves. the gentleman from california. mr. berman: thank you, madam speaker. and i rise in strong support of h.res. 268, the cantor-hoyer resolution and i yield myself four minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for four minutes. mr. berman: madam speaker, i believe negotiations are the only path to a two-state solution to the israel-palestinian conflict. for this reason, the united states congress has ever reason to be concerned about efforts by the palestinian authority leadership to attain recognition of statehood while bypassing the accepted negotiation process. these efforts run counter to the palestinians' own
internationally witnessed commitments at the 1991 madrid conference and under the 1993 oslo agreement and 2003 road map. that is but one reason i'm deeply disappointed by the palestinian leadership's recent push to seek recognition of an independent state at the united nations. indeed, even some palestinian officials have acknowledged that such u.n. recognition of statehood gives the palestinians nothing but an empty symbolic victory. one thing is clear. there will be no recognition of palestinian statehood by the security council, where i feel confident the united nations would use its veto just as it has in the past to prevent passage of an unbalanced anti-israel resolution. and what exactly what u.n. general assembly recognition of a palestinian state do for the palestinians?
absolutely nothing. it would not solve the palestinians' need for recognized borders nor would it solve issues like water rights or palestinian refugees. it would not enhance the prospect for successful negotiations. in fact, it would be seen by israel and many others as an act of bad faith creating yet another obstacle to successful talks. as president obama said in may, quote, for the palestinians, efforts to delegitimate idse israel will end in failure. symbolic actions to isolate israel in the united nationses won't create an independent state. a glance at recent history shows that he's right. in 1988, yassa ara fat garnered recognition from more than 100 nations. 23 years later, there is still no palestinian state.
they don't want a bunch of declarations of statehood, they want a state and they should have one through the only means possible for attaining one. negotiations with israel. the leaders are committed to a peaceful resolution. so i hope they will return to the negotiating table and abandon their flawed u.n. strategy. the congress has been very generous in its support of the palestinian authority's worthy efforts to build institutions and the economy on the west bank. i believe we are the most generous nation in the world in that regard. so i think our palestinian friends should understand, if they persist in pursuing a unilateralist path, inevitably, there will be consequences for palestinian relationships. i encourage my colleagues to support this important pro-negotiations, pro-peace
resolution and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentlelady from florida. ms. ros-lehtinen: i'm pleased to yield one minute to our esteemed majority leader and co-author of this resolution, the gentleman from virginia, mr. cantor. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. cantor: i thank the gentlelady, the chairman of the foreign affairs committee. thank you, madam speaker and i thank the leadership of the the gentleman from california as well in support of this resolution. madam speaker, we call today on hamas and the palestinian authority to renounce the path they have set in planning to announce statehood in the upcoming united nations session. by threatening to sidestep the oslo accords, they are dismantling the framework of future peace process. we have seen what they have perpetrated against israelis and the palestinian people in the gaza strip.
yet hamas refuses to accept responsibility for its actions or rein terrorists called to strike at the heart of the israeli people. today, we ask and call upon the palestinian authority to return to the negotiating table and join the israelis indirect discussions to end this conflict. furthermore, we call on the leadership of the palestinian authority to renounce the violence hamas condones and teaches to its followers. this resolution, madam speaker, directs the palestinian authority to be responsible actors on the world stage and to return to negotiations. for far too long, the palestinian authority has not acted on behalf of its people. corruption has caused many to discredit its legitimacy. the people of the region deserve an honest broker that accepts and respects the state of israel. israel has stood by america in
its fight against extremeist ideology. madam speaker, we stand by israel as our most valued ally in a region in need of more who respect freedom of speech and the free assembly of people, a region that, frankly, must follow the example set by israel in its work and promotion of human progress. it is time for the palestinian authority to accept a peaceful solution to this conflict and teach their children that violence is never the answer to the problem. the palestinian authority must understand that peace is only achievable when they are willing to recognize the legitimacy of israel to exist as a jewish state. and they must understand that the solution to this conflict will only come through direct negotiation with the israelis
and not by circumventing the peace process through international parallel men try gimmickry. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from california. mr. berman: i yield two minutes to the minority whip, mr. hoyer. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. hoyer: i thank mr. berman for yielding and i thank ms. ros-lehtinen for bringing this resolution to the floor and i'm pleased to join my colleague and friend, mr. cantor, in strong support of this resolution. . i believe there's only one lasting solution to the israeli-palestinian conflict, a future of two states two people living this security and peace with one another. such a solution is in the best interest of regional peace and in the best interest of both parties.
that's why i strongly believe ep suring the long-term viability of the jewish democratic state of israel also requires supporting a homeland for the palestinian people. history teaches us that in conflicts such as this up with, peace must be negotiated. it cannot and will not be imposed from outside. or else it will rest on an unstable and temporary foundation. that is why i strongly oppose palestinian efforts to impose a solution to the conflict at the united nations as well as palestinian efforts to unilaterally declare statehood. i'm concerned that a unilateral declaration will only encourage both sides to dig in and put a lasting negotiation of peace further at risk. as president obama said and as mr. berman has quoted, but i want to quote a little more of
the president's remarks, but i will repeat some of what mr. berman said because i think they're relevant. quote, the president of the united states, for the palestinians, efforts to delegitimize israel will end in failure. symbolic actions to isolate israel at the united nations in september won't create an independent state. palestinian leaders will not achieve peace or prosperity if hamas insists on a path of terror and reyeck and palestinians will never realize their independence by denying the right of israel to exist. one additional minute? i believe the president is absolutely correct. by passing this resolution, the house will make it clear that it agrees that a real peace can only come through negotiations between the two sides. that peace will only last if both sides by into it.
we all know that those negotiations have been, are now relatively nonexistent and they will be difficult even having been entered into. they will be painful. they will require courage and sacrifice on both sides. but the hard way is also the right way. and if there is to be any hope of peace, as surely all of us pray there is, both sides must return to the table without preconditions. i urge my colleagues to support this resolution and i will continue to urge america's allies to stand against quick, unilateral and ultimately unstable solutions to the israeli-palestinian conflict. i thank the gentleman an the chair for bringing this resolution to the floor and yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentlelady from florida.
ms. castor: i am pleased to -- ms. ros-lehtinen: i'm pleased to yield to the gentleman from ohio. for two and a half minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. >> some -- i thank the chairlady. no one has been a stronger support for this an ms.s relehtinen. mr. chabot: these elements spurn israel overtures and seek to establish a palestinian state unilaterally through a vote at the u.n. general assembly. though a short-term security may be achieveable unilaterally, peace is not. palestinian rejectionism whether by hamas or fattah must be abandoned. u.s. taxpayer money should
under no circumstances go to the palestinian government whose members do not all abide by the three principles, recognizing the state of israel's right to exist, renouncing terrorism and abide big previous agreements. and just as the u.s. should not support a palestinian government whose very composition is anathema to peace, so too it should not support an easyall terntive to negotiations. that's why i introduced a resolution to cut all funding to the u.n. general assembly should it vote to recognize a palestinian state in direct contravention of the charter. true peace will only be made between two peoples, israelis and palestinians, not the 191 orr members of the yen
assembly. israel, like the united states, welcomes those who would make peace even as it fights those who would make war. time and again, israel demonstrated its commitment to a palestinian tate living as its neighbor in peace and security. but there are no short cuts on the path to this outcome and there's no getting around the hard con segs that have to be made. the u.s. must now stand with israel and against those who would obstruction rather than advance the cause of peace. i urge me adoption of this resolution and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from california. mr. berman: i'm pleased to yield one and a half minutes to the gentleman from new york, mr. nadler. the chair: the gentleman -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one and a half minutes. mr. nadler: i rise in support of this resolution.
and in opposition to any unilateral declaration of palestinian statehood by the united nations. how can a dispute between two peoples be resolved by unilateral decision of one? the path to peace has been clear for many years an provided for by security council resolutions and the oslo accord signed by the israelis and palestinians. these provide for settlements negotiated between the party a settlement that's the result of two states, the state of israel and that of palestine. secure borders an the status of the refugees of 1948 and their descendants. is an attempt by palestine to delegitimize israel and give their state a reason to keep fighting israel and refuse the alleged right of return to
undermine the jewish state. the palestinian authority shoulding plain to its people that a pal stipian state can only be achieved by recognizing an israeli state next door. i urge all member os torte -- to support this resolution and yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from florida. ms. ros-lehtinen: i'm pleased to yield two minutes to the gentleman from new jersey, mr. smith, chairman of the foreign affairs subcommittee on africa. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. smith: i rise in strong support of h.res. 268 and deeply appreciate majority leader cantor, steny hoyer, chairman ros-lehtinen and mr. berman, the ranking member, for offering this resolution affirming the u.s. commitment to a negotiated settlement of
the israeli-palestinian conflict through direct negotiation. h. reds 268 speaks in very clear, unambiguous language about what this means. it means settlement through direct palestinian negotiations rather than through highly misguided, counterproductive unilateral palestinian deck la rage of statehood or by palestinians seeking recognition from other states or through the united nations. sadly, the latter, a havep of anti-israel and sometimes anne semitic activity. direct negotiations have been a keystone of u.s. and israeli policy twad the region for decades and even perform l.o. chair yasser arafat pledged to accept this back in 1993. unfortunately, hamas is -- hamas' 2011 unify agreement did not accept this agreement -- this commitment nor did it are-mounsvibles.
h.res. 268 also outlines what a negotiated settlement should entail, negotiations in which each accepts the other's right to exist and which are aimed at a two-state solution. again these have been key points of u.s. and israeli policy but hamas, a state department foreign terrorist organization, has rejected them they have fact is, madam speaker, the u.s. law precludes foreign assistance through a p.a. which shares power with hamas unless it recognizes israel's right to exist and adheres to prior agreements between israel and the p.l.o. the israeli government has been extremely generous to the p.a., prorising other $550 million annually so the resolution wisely reaffirms this law. ms. ros-lehtinen: i yield the gentleman 30 seconds. the chair: the -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized.
mr. smith: so this agreement pending the -- it is our policy and israel's policy, madam speaker, promote a realistic, sustainable peace process. one that entails negotiations between two parties to the con flibt represented by groups that seek a two-state lution and renounce violence. hamas has shown none of that. i yield back. the chair: the -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california. mr. berman: madam speaker, i'm pleased to yield one minute to the gentlelady from florida, ms. wasserman schultz. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. ms. wasserman schultz: thank you, madam speaker. i rise in support of h.res. 268. this important resolution reaffirms our nation's unwavering commitment to a negotiated settlement of the israeli-palestinian conflict which can only be achieved through israeli-palestinian peace talks. since 1948, we have always stood by israel's side as a strong ally and friend.
this resolution is no exception. as each day brings a new set of changes to the middle east, it is more vital than ever that we strengthen that friendship. from insisting hamas accept israel's right to exist, h.res. 268 reaffirms the of the congress and the opaw ma administration that we must continue to stand strong with our democratic ally against hostile enemies and attempts at dehe swrit myization. thank you and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from florida. ms. ros-lehtinen: it is an nontore to yield one minute to my colleague from florida, general west, a hero. the chair: the -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. west: i stand in support of
h.res. 26 which supports peace talks between israel and palestine, we must ensure that any palestinian government work on peace with israel. the second thing, we must make sure the leaders of the palestinian people cease all efforts at circumventing the negotiation process including through a unilateral deck la rage of statehood or by seeking recognition of a palestinian state from other nations or the united nations. the third and probably most important, that the palestinian leaders must take appropriation measures to counter the incitement to violence and fulfill all prior palestinian commitments, including dismantling the terrorist infrastructure embodied with hamas. israel is a bright and shining
beacon in a sea of despots, theocrats and autocrats. the palestinian leaders can choose to be part of this. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california. mr. berman p.c. i'm pleased to yield one minute to the gentleman on the foreign affairs committee, the gentleman from connecticut, mr. murphy. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. murphy: i rise in support of this resolution. setting preconditions on negotiations is just an excuse to maintain the status quo. if president abbas is serious about peace, he should focus all his energies and the nrblings of his people on negotiations with israel. an agreement won't be ease eesy but the outlines of an agreement are well known. all that's necessary now is leader -- leadership from both sides. we are a rock solid friend of israel and anyone who seeks peace with them but this means we stand against those who seek
to circumvent the peace process by running to the u.n. yen assembly for a declaration that may score political points but will set back the peace process for years. now with turmoil on every board we are israel, we need to stand with them as an ally. we want peace. israel wants peace. peace can only happen with negotiations. all we are missing is a true palestinian partner. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from florida. ms. ros-lehtinen: i yield a minute to mrs. adams, a veteran of the u.s. air force. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for two minutes. mrs. adams: madam speaker, i rise in support of h.res. 268 which would reaffirm america's commitment to a negotiated solution to the israeli-palestinian conflict resulting in two states a democratic jewish state of israel and a democratic palestinian state living in peace and mutual recognition.
for six decks kids, through 12 american presidents and 12 israeli prime ministers, israel has stood as a beacon of democracy in an unstable region and remained a loyal and committed friends to the united states. . we owe no more than that. he will stand with israel to honor our friendship and to continue our commitment to negotiate a peace that both the israelis and the palestinians have agreed to, not one that is imposed upon them. the united states cannot dictate how peace can be reached with the palestinians, especially when they are willing to allow hamas to participate in many of their elections. this is why i strongly disagree with the president's strategy to force israel into a peace they have not negotiated. again, i want to rise in support of h.res. 268.
i believe the peace will be a negotiated peace between the palestinians and yeals without the influence of terrorists. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. the gentleman from california. mr. berman: i yield one minute to my friend and partner in so many of these efforts, the gentlelady from new york, ranking member of the foreign operations appropriations. mrs. lowey: i rise in strong support of the resolution and i thank you for your leadership and the chair. i traveled to israel last week and i saw the determination and resourcefulness of that young nation. in a volatile region, israel is a strong democracy, despite many setbacks, the country still longs for peace, yet unilateral actions by palestinian threatens
progress. we must do everything in our power to stand by israel to persuade the palestinians to abandon their efforts in the u.n., break with the terrorist group hamas and return to the negotiating table with israel without pre-conditions. this resolution is a strong statement in support of peace. i urge my colleagues to vote yes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. the gentlelady from florida. ms. ros-lehtinen: i yield one minute to the gentleman from arizona, mr. gosar. mr. gosar: i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. gosar: i rise in strong support of house resolution 268. this resolution affirms congressional support for direct negotiations between israeli and palestinian leaders in an effort to achieve peace in this over six-decades-long struggle. while the palestinian pursuit of a state is understandable but to bypass is inappropriate and a
disgrace to the u.n. charter and all acceptable norms of international law. to create or recognize a state will not foresake terrorism, violence, ethnic hatred and genocide. if a vote for the palestinian statehood comes to the u.n., the u.s. must do so until a peace agreement is achieved and maintained between the israelis and palestinians. now is not the time for either party to remove themselves from the negotiating table. peace will not be attained with one side seeking it. i urge my colleagues to reassert direct negotiations by supporting h are 268 and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california. mr. berman: could i get the time remaining on each side. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california has nine minutes remaining and the gentlelady from florida has 3 1/2 minutes remaining. the gentleman from california. mr. berman: madam speaker, i'm
pleased to yield 1 1/2 minutes to the the gentleman from florida, mr. deutch. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from florida is recognized for 1 1/2 minutes. mr. deutch: i thank the ranking member from california. i thank the chair of the committee and i rise to support house resolution 268, reaffirming our nation's unyielding support for israel. madam speaker, the lack of progress in the peace process thus far, stems from the palestinians' refusal to negotiate despite israeli concessions. they could choose dialogue, they could choose peace, instead they have chosen hey treated and violence. they could not be expected to negotiate with a nation that refuses to accept principles, continues to murder innocent israeli citizens and refuses to release the israeli soldier.
they pursue plans to avoid plans all together and declare statehood at the united nations. just weeks ago, here in this chamber, israeli prime minister netanyahu reminded us of what we already know, that peace cannot be imposed, peace must be negotiated. by passing this resolution, congress will uphold this principle and reaffirm our commitment to israel's security and express our unyielding support for the israeli people in their quest for a true and lasting peace. i urge a yes vote on this resolution. and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentlelady from florida from florida. ms. ros-lehtinen: we continue to reserve the balance of our time. we only have one speaker who will close the debate. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady reserves. the gentleman from california. mr. berman: madam speaker, i'm
very pleased to yield one minute to a distinguished member of our committee, the ranking member of the western hemisphere subcommittee, the gentleman from new york, mr. engel. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is recognized for one minute. mr. engel: i rise in strong support of the resolution. i come from the premise that if you want to work out a disagreement, you sit face to face at the negotiating table and negotiate. that's what happened in ireland and it should happen in the middle east. but the palestinians are playing their cute little games. they want to establish a lot of pre-conditions and want to make excuses to not sit and talk with israel and think they can impose this at the u.n. without face-to-face negotiations. i say no to excuses, no to 1967 lines, no to all kinds of pre-conditions before palestinians will even sit down and talk. the only way if palestinians are truly -- truly want peace, they have a willing partner in
israel. as prime minister netanyahu said, there is no palestinian state not because we don't support one, it's because the palestinians won't recognize the jewish state. i believe in two states side by side, a jewish state of israel and an arab palestinian state. again, that can only happen with face-to-face negotiations, no pre-conditions, let the parties sit down and talk. thank you, madam speaker. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from florida continues to reserve. the gentleman from california. mr. berman: yes, madam speaker. i am pleased to yield 1 1/2 minutes to the gentleman from texas, former member of the foreign affairs committee, mr. green. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is recognized for 1 1/2 minutes. mr. green: i thank my colleague, ranking member on the foreign affairs committee. i rise in strong support of h.r.
268, a resolution reaffirming our nation's commitment to the negotiated settlement in the israeli-palestinian conflict. i would like to thank my colleagues, both republican leader caintor and democratic whip hoyer by bringing this to the floor. i have been to israel and west bank. i vouch for the desire of the people of israel and the people of the palestinian territories to come to a peaceful settlement that will end violence. a negotiated two-state sellment is the keystone in the peace process and official policy of our government, the israeli government and until recently the palestinian authority. only through direct negotiations can difficult compromises be reached from core issues like borders, water, refugees, status of jerusalem and security. attempts to bypass direct negotiations and seek recognition of unilaterally declared palestinian state by the u.n. general assembly will
not help the palestinian people. such a declaration will undermine the peace process and endanger the security and well-being of the very people it claims to stort. a declared palestinian state will lead to greater heightened tensions and turn the region into a powder keg and invite hezbollah and hamas to take advantage. i urge my colleagues to support the resolution and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentlelady from florida reserves. the gentleman from california. mr. berman: i'm pleased to yield 1 1/2 minutes to member of the committee, the ranking member of the oversight committee, the gentleman from missouri mr. carnahan 1 1/2 minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. carnahan: i call upon my
colleagues to support this resolution strongly. the commitment toll israel in a negotiated settlement by and between the israelis and palestinians. the future of israel is linked to that of its neighbors in the middle east and north africa. with gas prices rising, conflicts in that region have a direct impact on americans here at home. i have long supported a two-state solution to the conflict with israel as the recognized home of the jewish people and a strong palestinian state to promote the well-being of the palestinians as well. u.s. and our allies must support this process. we must allow the two parties to come together and negotiate a settlement. this is the best avenue to achieve lasting peace. i strongly oppose palestinian attempts for unilateral recognition through the u.n. that would delegitimate mies this peace process. harry tru truman recognized israel within minutes of its declaration of independence and we must continue this kind of
support for israel and our allies striving for peace. i look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the i'll -- aisle in the months ahead. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentlelady from florida. ms. ros-lehtinen: we reserveal the other side yields back and then we'll close. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california. the gentleman from california. mr. berman: i'm very pleased to yield to the gentleman from virginia, mr. moran 2 1/2 minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia 2 1/2 minutes. mr. moran: i thank my good friend from california for yielding me the time. the middle east peace process is at risk of collapse. and i believe that only american
leadership can save it. both sides can and should do more to restart negotiations. house resolution 268, despite the fact that it has virtually unanimous support from this body and includes a laudable reaffirmation of the united states' commitment to a negotiated solution of the conflict falls short of the kind of leadership i believe is needed. this resolution chasses the palestinians and for pursuing recognition of their state at the united nations. the first point, i think we should give the palestinian authority which it has done an impressive job of developing institutions and its economy in the west bank some credit. they have tried to provide the leadership to pursue the goals that we have encouraged them to do and they have, i think, done
so in terms of developing democratic institutions in a way that we should be proud of because we had a role in that, a major role. there is no indication they have any inclination to allow hamas to jeopardize those gains that have been achieved in the west bank and thus far the reconciliation agreement between hamas and fa fattah has any evidence to yield a agreement. in many ways, the purpose for bringing forth this resolution is moot. should hamas be invited to join the government without accepting the conditions of the corte, united nationses, united states, russia, those are the designated bodies that have come forward with an geement we have agreed to if they invite hamas to join a coalition government without accepting the conditions that we
insist upon, it will have very serious implications for our relationship and that's the reason why we should cut off financial aid. in 2006, palestinian elections, which were advanced by the bush administration -- that's what brought hamas into power. in reaction, the united states as well as the international cortet success pnded assistance to the palestinian authority and the obama administration is continuing that policy. there is no aid going into gaza. the palestinian unity is crucial to a long-term peace. gaza's separation from the west bank has made it impossible to advance meaningful negotiations. there is insufficient time to lay out -- may i have 15 seconds? mr. berman: i yield 15 seconds. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. moran: there is insufficient time to lay out the other side.
i don't have strong disagreement with many of the points that have been made but there is another perspective to this and ought to be advanced in this body. i thank the speaker for her time and i thank my good friend for yielding. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentlelady from florida continues to reserve. the gentleman from california. mr. berman: may i ask through the chair does the gentlelady from florida -- ms. ros-lehtinen: we have 3 1/2 minutes left approximately and we have mr. burton to close for us. so we are waiting for you to finish. mr. berman: may i inquire how much time? the chair: -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman has 45 seconds. the gentleman is recognized for 45 seconds. . mr. berman: there are two important issues raised by this resolution. one seems a little more distant than it did at the time it was introduced and that was the possibility of a unity
government that included an organization that is on our terrorist list that subscribes to violence, to the elimination of the state of israel and refuses to recognize past agreements in a unity government. hopefully that agreement -- the chances of it are diminishing. the second point is a strategy which violates the palestinian's own commitments to -- that they made in madrid, that they made part of the road map, that were made in the context of the oslo agreements, that they will negotiate directly with the israelis to resolve this conflict. i think it is all too appropriate to point out that should they pursue that cors, the assistance that we have very generously given -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. berman: might well be terminated and i urge an aye vote on this resolution. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from florida -- the gentlelady from florida. ms. ros-lehtinen: thank you very much, madam speaker.
i would like to yield such time as he may consume to mr. burton, the gentleman from indiana, who's also the chairman of the committee -- subcommittee on europe and eurasia and our committee on foreign affairs. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from indiana is recognized. mr. burton: i thank my chairman for yielding. israel's right to exist, madam speaker, should be guaranteed. and israel has tried to work out over the years a peace agreement with the palestinians so that there could be a two-state solution. in fact, twice, once during the term of prime minister barack and again during the term of prime minister olmert, israel offered the palestinians a very generous and fair final settlement and both times those officers were flatly rejected and met with violence -- offers were flatly rejected and met with violence. and what have the palestinians done recently? they went and signed an agreement with hamas.
ham is a terrorist organization -- hamas is a terrorist organization that's been lobbying bombs and missiles into israel, trying to destroy the israeli state. they're committed to the destruction of israel and the palestinians have signed an agreement on may the fourth of this year to work with them. israel went that extra step when they allowed gaza to be turned over or turned open and what happened right after that took place? hamas came in there and took over and started attacking israel day after day. innocent women and children were running constantly from bombing being dropped on them -- bombs being dropped on them because gaza had been set in a position where they could open up to hamas. and so you've got a constant demand by the terrorists, hamas, hezbollah and others, to destroy the state of israel. and israel has been a great ally
of the united states since its inception in 1948. we need to send a very strong signal and i think we're doing it right now today, a very strong signal that this country, this congress and the senate supports the state of israel and does not want the palestinians to go to the united nations and try to have a unilateral settlement made by that body. this is something that has to be worked out at the conference table between israel and the palestinians. and not at the united nations. so i'd just like to conclude by saying that israel is our best friend and ally in the middle east, they're a stable element in the middle east, we need to support them and make absolutely sure that hamas, hezbollah and the other terrorist organizations do not have their way and destroy the state of israel. we are committed to that, this congress is committed to that and this whole debate has shown
very clearly that almost unanimously the people of the united states stand with israel. and with that i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from florida. ms. ros-lehtinen: thank you, madam speaker. with that i yield back the balance of my time and i'd like to ask for the yeas and nays at the appropriate time. the speaker pro tempore: all time has expired and the question is will the house suspend the rules and agree to house resolution 268. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the -- ms. ros-lehtinen: madam speaker. the speaker pro tempore: 2/3 of those voting having responded in the affirmative -- the gentlelady from florida. ms. ros-lehtinen: on that i request the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. all those in favor of taking this vote by the yeas and nays will rise and remain standing until counted. a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered and pursuant to clause 8 of rule 0, further proceedings on this question -- 20, further proceedings on this question will be postponed. for what purpose does the gentleman from new jersey rise? ms. ros-lehtinen: thank you, madam speaker. i move that the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 515 as amended.
the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the resolution. the clerk: h.r. 515, a bill to re-authorize the belarus democracy act of 2004. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentlelady from florida, ms. ros-lehtinen, and the gentleman from california, mr. burton, will each control 20 minutes and the chair now recognizes the gentlelady from florida. ms. ros-lehtinen: i thank you, madam speaker. i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on h.r. 515 and i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlelady is now recognized. ms. ros-lehtinen: thank you, madam speaker. i ask unanimous consent to submit for the record letters from two committee chairmen, one from judiciary and one from financial services, on the measure before us. i would also like to thank -- thank you, madam speaker. i'd also like to thank chairman smith and chairman bachus for their corporation in allowing this bill to proceed so swiftly to the floor.
madam speaker, i rise today in strong support of h.r. 515, the belarus democracy and human rights act of 2011. i would like to thank my distinguished colleague and friend, mr. smith, for introducing this timely and important measure. belarus has been correctly deemed the last dictatorship of europe. under the iron hand of the belarusan people, they have endured the systematic denial and violation of the basic freedom and human rights. the authorities in belarus have severely restricted free speech and independent media. prodemocracy political activists are subject to beatings and imprisonment. the regime's heavy-handed tactics were fully utilized in last deast's -- december's fraudulent election for president. according to our own human right it's report, and i quote, authorities denied citizens the right to change their
government, manipulating the december 19 presidential election to ensure that the president would not be seriously challenged. security forces beat detainees and protesters, used excessive force to disperse peaceful demonstrators and reportedly used torture during investigations. and it continues, it a crackdown on post election demonstrations led to the arrest of over 700 activists including criminal charges against five presidential candidates and numerous activists and journalists, end quote. unfortunately the regime, despite its repeated promises of reform, continues this campaign of repression against its own people. in response to the rumors that peaceful protesters were planning to gather on bell ruse independence day, july 3, just recently, to show their opposition to the regime by clapping their hands, the
dictator stated, and i quote, stomping, clapping, bellowing and roaring on squares and streets cannot solve problems. the state has the resources and power to pacify those who violate the law and the constitution. end quote. and we have now seen the president did indeed use the state's power to pacify the demonstrators. how? he ordered the authorities to start by firing tear gas at the protesters followed by the violent beating and imprisonment of those who dared to clap their hands, over 300 activists were arrested and today 140 were convicted on such dubious charges as being hooligans or participating in unsanctioned demonstrations. this unrelenting persecution of the belarusan people by the regime is simply unacceptable. the u.s. and other responsible
nations must support the prodemocracy forces in belarus and hold the authoritative regime accountable for its growing abuses. that's why i'm pleased to support this important measure which among other things condemns the conduct of the recent presidential elections and the crackdown on opposition candidates and activists, expresses a sense of congress that the president should continue to support radio, television and internet broadcasting to the people of belarus and expands on existing sanctions including the denial of visas to any member of the belarusan government who participated in the crackdown on opposition leaders, journalists and peaceful protesters that occurred in connection with the december elections. thank you, madam speaker, and i reserve the balance of my time and i ask unanimous consent that
the chairman of the foreign affairs subcommittee on african global health and human rights, mr. smith, be allowed to manage the remainder of our time, madam speaker. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman from new jersey, will control the balance of the time. the gentleman from california. mr. berman: thank you, madam speaker. i will be the only speaker to speak from our side on this resolution. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. berman: madam speaker, i rise in support of this legislation. on december 19 of last year belarus president alexander staged a fraught lend -- fraudulent election. immediately afterward he had the opposition candidates arrested and almost all of them were sentenced to princenen. the regime has continued to a-- harass members of opposition political parties, human rights activists and civil societys and to suppress belarusans' access to free press and information. over the past month an increasing number of belarusans have gathered to protest against
the president and the deteriorating economic situation there. the obama administration has reacted strongly to the fraudulent elections and post election crackdown. on february 2, the u.s. significantly expanded the list of belarusan officials subject to travel sanctions and to have their assets blocked and restore full u.s. sanctions against belarusa's largest state-owned oil and gas concerns. on july 2, secretary clinton met with activists from belarus during her visit to lithuania for a meeting of the community of democracys and repeated her demand that belarus release political prisoners and embark on the path of democratic reform. in coordination with the european yupe -- european union, the administration has significantly expanded democracy assistance to belarus this year from $11 million to $15 million. we must continue to call for the
reopening of the o.s.c. office in minks and for the government of belarus to cooperate with a fact finding mission requested by 14 participating states under the moscow mechanism. and we must continue to demand the release of many heroic individuals still languishing in belarusan prisons without access to their families or legal council. europe's last dictatorship should not be allowed to stand unchallenged. i support this legislation and encourage my colleagues to do the same and reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from new jersey. mr. smith: madam speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. smith: thank you, madam speaker. first of all let me thank chairwoman ros-lehtinen for her leadership in bringing this bill to the floor today, the majority leader and the speaker for scheduling it and to howard berman for his strong support of it as well and his very eloquent statement just a moment ago. madam speaker, i rise in strong
support of h.r. 515, the belarus democracy and human rights act visit -- act of 2011. the bill demonstrates our strong and sustained promotion of human rights, democracy and the rule of law in belarus through targeted sanctions against this brutal dictatorship. h.r. 515 reinforces earlier law, the belarus democracy act of 2004, and the belarus democracy re-authorization act of 2006, both of which passed the house and the senate with overwhelming bipartisan support and were signed into law. . this underscores the need for a government responded to peaceful
protests with savage mass beatings and large scale detentions, over 700 people. later on, i will put in the record the list of many of the activists, many of whom are already in jail, their sentences and these are men and women whose only crime was asking that belarus go from dictatorship to a democracy. some receiving harsh sentences up to circumstance years. lukashenko usually finds a reason to extend the jail sentences. these sentences are awful indeed. as representative ros-lehtinen pointed out, this also includes five of the nine presidential candidates who ran against lukashenko. their family, lawyers, journalists and activists continue to be harassed and
intimidated. it is the worst political crackdown in europe in over a decade and it's ongoing, madam speaker. the repression regime was in full force earlier this week as police broke up protestors attempting to mark their country's independence day. hundreds were detained, 140 already received administrative sentences or fines, including independent journalists reporting on rallies held across the country. . through a series of rigged elections, large-scale intimidation and suppression of independent media and civil society, the dictator has long since consolidated his control over virtually all national institutions. his dictatorship is the worst of any in europe today. most significantly about the legislation, the bill supports
target the sanctions that expresses the sense of the congress to deny the privilege of visiting our country to senior belarus officials, immediate families and others involved in human rights violations and anti-democracy actions, including those involved in the december 19th post-election crackdown. it has provisions prohibiting u.s. government financing except for humanitarian goods and ag and nonhumanitarian loans to the belarus government, blocking assets owned by the government senior leadership or their families and those involved in anti-democratic actions. these sanctions are aimed at the senior leadership of a dictatorship that displays utter contempt for the people of belarus and with these sanctions we stand with the bella
russiaian people. i would ask unanimous consent that my statement be made part of the record and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from california. mr. berman: i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. and the question is, will the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 515 as amended. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 being in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed and without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table. for what purpose does the gentleman from florida rise? >> i send to the desk a privileged report from the committee on rules. the clerk: report to accompany house resolution 337, resolution
providing for consideration of the bill, h.r. 2354, making appropriations for energy and water development and related agencies for the fiscal year ending september 30, 2012 and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: referred to the house calendar and ordered printed. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to house resolution 320 and rule 18, the chair declares the for the further consideration of h.r. 2219. will the gentleman from utah, mr. bishop, kindly take the
chair. the chair: the house is in the committee of the whole on the state of the union for further consideration of h.r. 2219, which the clerk will report by title. the clerk: a bill making appropriations for the department of defense for the fiscal year ending september 30, 2012 and for other purposes. the chair: when the committee of the whole rose earlier today, amendment number 31 printed in the congressional record offered by the gentleman from texas, mr. carter, had been disposed and the bill had been read through page 122 line 19. pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, proceedings will now resume on those amendments printed in the congressional record on which further proceedings were
postponed in the following order, amendment number 1 of mr. con ellie of virginia, mr. amendment number 2, amendment by mr. kucinich initch of ohio, amendment number 21, amendment by mr. welch of vermont, amendment number 22, amendment number 26, and amendment by mr. sessions of texas. the chair will reduce to two minutes the time for any electronic vote after the first vote in this series. the unfinished business is the request for a recorded vote on amendment number 1 offered by the gentleman from virginia, mr. con ellie on which further -- connelly. the clerk will redesignate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 1 offered by mr. connelly of virginia. the chair: a recorded vote has been requested. those in support of a recorded vote will rise and be counted. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is
ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a 15-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.].
the chair: on this vote the yeas are 175, the nays are 241, the amendment is not adopted. the unfinished business is the request for a recorded vote on amendment number 23 printed in the congressional record offered by the gentleman from georgia, mr. broun, on which further proceedings were postponed, on which the nays prevailed by a voice vote. the clerk: amendment number 23 printed in the congressional record offered by mr. broun of georgia. the chair: a recorded vote has
been requested. those in support of the request for a recorded vote will rise and be counted. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a two-minute vote. a two-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
the chair: the yeas are 87, the nays are 328, the amendment is not adopted. the unfinished business is the request for a recorded vote on amendment number 2, offered by the gentleman from virginia, mr. connelly, on which connolly. the clerk: amendment number 2 offered by mr. connolly of virginia. the chair: recorded vote has been requested. those in support of a recorded vote will rise and be counted. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a two-minute vote. the chair will ask members to stay close into the chamber.
it is a two-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. 6 -- [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
the amendment is not agreed to. unfinished business is the request for a recorded vote on an amendment offered by the gentleman from ohio, mr. kucinich, on which further proceedings were postponed and the nays prevailed by a voice vote. the clerk will redesignate the amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. kucinich of ohio. the chair: a recorded vote has been requested. those in support of the recorded vote will rise and be counted. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is another two-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
again, the house will be in order. the committee is also in order. for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia rise? >> mr. chairman, i ask unanimous consent to withdraw my request for a recorded votes on amendments number 21 and 22 to the end that they stand disposed of by the voice votes thereon. the clerk: amendment number 21, printed in the congressional record offered by mr. broun of georgia. amendment number 22 printed in the congressional record, offered by mr. broun of georgia. the chair: is there objection? without objection, the request for recorded votes are withdrawn on amendments number 21 and number 22. the unfinished business before
the committee is the request for a rodded vote on the amendments offered by the gentleman from vermont, mr. welch, on which further proceedings were postponed and which the nays prevailed by voice vote. the clerk will redesignate the america. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. welch of vermont. the chair: those in request of the recorded vote will rise and be counted. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a two-minute vote. snoor [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.] -- [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
the amendment is not agreed to. the unfinished business is the request for a recorded vote on amendment number 62 printed in the congressional record offered by the gentleman from michigan mr. amash on which further proceedings were postponed and on which the ayes prevailed by voice vote. the clerk will redesignate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 62, printed in the congressional record, offered by mr. amash of michigan. the chair: a recorded vote has been requested. those in support of a recorded vote will rise and be downed. a a sufficient number having arisen having risen, a recorded -- a sufficient number having arisen a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this will be a two-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives.
the unfinished business is the request for a recorded vote on the amendment offered by the gentleman from texas, mr. sessions, on which further proceedings were postponed on which the ayes prevailed by a voice vote. the clerk will redez igs nate the amendment. the clerk: amendment offered by mr. sessions of texas. the chair: a recorded vote has been requested. those in support of the request for a recorded vote will rise and be counted. this is a two-minute vote. members will record their votes by electronic device. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
floor. the committee will come to order. members will take their conversations off the floor. members will take their seats so we can proceed with business. the chair: the clerk will read. the clerk: page 122, line 10, section 8128, the secretary shall submit to the defense committee, a report on $100 billion inefficiency savings
identified by military departments in the budget covering fiscal years 2012-2016. the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman from massachusetts rise? mr. mcgovern: i move to strike the last word. the chair: the gentleman will suspend. again, those to my right, the gentleman from massachusetts deserves to be heard. the committee will be in order. the chair: the gentleman deserves to be heard. the body needs to hear. take your conversations off the floor. the gentleman from massachusetts
is recognized for five minutes. mr. mcgovern: mr. chairman, i rise in support of amendments to this title that cut funds, reduce our military footprint and move to bring our troops home from afghanistan and i rise in opposition to the underlying bill. i want to commend the ranking member of the committee, congressman dicks from washington, for his leadership in calling for a fresh look at how we carry out military operations in afghanistan and the need for a strategy that brings our troops home sooner rather than later. i just returned from a trip to afghanistan. i cannot describe how impressed i am with the commitment, the dedication and the work carried out every single day by our men and women in uniform and those in the civilian services. i met and spoke with them in kabul, bases and air force bases and small villages. quite simply, they are incredible. but over and over and over
again, i heard the same message, this is not sustainable. the strategy that we are pursuing in afghanistan is not sustainable and it is costing us too much in human lives and financial resources to continue. it can't continue for another 18 months as called for by the president, let alone even longer. i stand here tonight more convinced than ever that it is time to forge a new path, a new strategy, built upon past and present accomplishments and more aggressively focused on reducing the military footprint in afghanistan than the plan described by the president last month, accelerating the transition of combat operations and intense international and regional effort to secure a political solution to the afghan complex in defining a coordinated effort that
safeguards the region and world from terrorist threats. general petraeus invited me and two other members, congressman west and congressman hunter to attend a ceremony. we may not always agree on policy but we found the sermonny honoring the fallen soldiers who were being transported by the c-130 on their final journey home. 1,650 american servicemen and women have sacrificed their lives in the afghanistan war. while i was in afghanistan, six more were killed. it was a reminder of the enormous sacrifice that our soldiers are paying. 2010 was the deadliest conflict for u.s. and coalition forces and for afghan civilians. this year, 2011, is on page to be the deadliest page of the war. we need to end the war, not
sustain on it. we are borrowing $8 billion, to $10 billion each month alone. borrowing, borrowing. we know we can't sustain that and afghan government and security forces don't have the political will to sustain that will of resources once we leave. we need to find a new strategy to bring this conflict to an end. the president and congressional leaders are grappling with how to deal with the national debt. it can't be done if we don't find the means. according to c.b.o. we can save $1.3 trillion by ending these wars, trillion with a t. we have spent $3.7 trillion since 9/11 in iraq and afghanistan. we cannot afford another decade like the last one. it is simply not sustainable. we need to also understand that
jobs and economic security and economic strength are a central part of our national security. while we serve as an a.t.m. machine for the corrupt government in kabul, we tell our own people we don't have money here at home. enough. i urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support amendments that reduce our spending and military footprint in afghanistan. help bring our troops home sooner rather than later and call for a new direction in afghanistan. mr. chairman, i will be submitting for the record two articles one from the "washington post" entitled "c.b.o. ending the wars" and an article that are appeared in "scientific american." mr. chairman the time has come for us to come together and find a different strategy in afghanistan, one that will bring our troops home.
it is time to end this war. i yield back my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from north carolina rise? >> i move to strike the last word. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. jones: mr. speaker, i join in this effort. i tell you without any provided with humility, this past weekend i signed 31 letters to families and extended families who have lost loved ones in afghanistan and iraq. at this time, i have signed over 10,374 letters because of my mistake in voting to send our kids to iraq, which was an unnecessary war, with misinformation led by the previous administration. so i join my colleagues today on both sides of the aisle and i thank those who offer this
amendment. this past weekend, i divided to email my adviser, who is a former commandant of the marine corps and said what do you think of president obama's plans? i'll read just two short points to you. i think the time is too long. i think he needs to increase the number of troops coming out of the country more and quicker. and his last point, get real with training army and police forces. all we are training are evental new members of the taliban. trainers are doing a wonderful job, but we don't have the time to make an army. every day, some one dice. every day, an american dice or gets his or her -- dies or gets his or her legs poster. this was in the newspaper.
and too many times as we debate and eloquent speakers on the floor of the house, we don't see any faces or broken arms or legs and here is a young lady holding a young baby in her arms and the little baby is looking at the officer who is presenting her with the flag. how often does this happen throughout america and we never see it? we have to bring our toops home. they were asked to do everything, to get al qaeda that was responsible for 9/11 and get bin laden. we have done all that. we have done everything we can do. and as my friend from massachusetts said, $10 billion a month and we can't fix the schools or fix the roads here in north carolina and throughout america. i'm from north carolina. i know what's happening to my state and i know what's happening to the other states. mr. speaker, it is time to bring them home.
we don't need any more babies coming to their moms and dads saying, when is daddy coming home, when is mommy coming home and been told they aren't coming home. we have done enough for afghanistan. it is a corrupt leader and corrupt government. and we need come to -- we need to come home. and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. nadler: there will be a number of amendments offered by mr. garamendi, myself and mr. jones and others, all in various ways seeking to speed our exit from afghanistan. i support them all. two weeks ago, the president proposed that we continue fighting in afghanistan for at least 3 1/2 more years. in those 3 1/2 years, more of our soldiers will die, more of
our treasure will be spent and in the end, we will not be any closer to creating a stable afghanistan or to enhancing our safety. the whole premise of this war is wrong. fighting in afghanistan does not enhance the security of the united states. 10 years ago, we were attacked on 9/11 by al qaeda. al qaeda had bases in afghanistan and at that time, it made sense to go in and destroy those bases, a and we did. but the c.i.a. tell us there are fewer than 100 personnel in afghanistan. so why are we still fighting there. why do we have troops in afghanistan at the end of 2012, troops who will continue to risk their lives every day in a war that has already claimed too many american lives? and we will continue deploying billions of dollars into a mess when we should be devoting
taxpayer funds to our own economy, our own jobs, our own housing, our own social programs and our own education. afghanistan is in the middle of what is so far a 35-year civil war. if we continue on this course, in three years, there will be several thousand more american soldiers dead, several hundred billion more dollars wasted and two or three more provinces labeled pacified. as soon as we leave, now, or in 2014 or 2016 or whenever, those provinces will become unpacified. the taliban and the warlords will step up the fighting and the afghan civil war will resume its natural course. our troops are fighting valiantly but they are on the wrong mission. rebuilding
rebuilding after fan stan is beyond our ability. to continue this terrible policy at so high a cost is simply unconscionable. it is unjustifiable to sacrifice more lives and money on this futile endeavor. we should withdraw our troops now, all of them, as rapidly as physically possible. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from california rise? >> mr. chairman, i move to strike the requisite number of words. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. on march 16, 2011, i joined my co-chairs of the congressional caucus on peace and security in sending a letter to the president asking them to move swiftly to end america's longest war, the war in afghanistan.
mr. honda: sips then the co-chairs have called on the administration to move toward the swift and sizable reduction of the troops in afghanistan. meeting or exceeding the number of troops on the ground before this revision. we call for a -- even the u.s. conference of mayors called for an end to the afghanistan war. in poll after poll, the majority of americans are consistently calling for an end to this war. a significant redeployment of u.s. troops from afghanistan beginning this month would have sent a clear message that the united states does not seek a permanent presence in afghanistan. this move would recognize we cannot afford the war in afghanistan costing nearly $10 billion per month while american families struggle to stay afloat amid the slow recovery our nation's economy. the co-chairs of the c.p.c.
task force on peace and security believe that a significant, swift, an sizable troop reduction in afghanistan is necessary. especially given the fact that the c.b.o. reported recently that ending the wars in afghanistan and iraq will save this country $1.7 trillion and especially given the fact that a recent brown university study shows that the united states has spent $3.7 trillion in these wars since 2001. anything less hurt ours nation's future and is unacceptable. it is time to focus on securing a future of economic opportunity and prosperity for the american people and the president must move swiftly and boldly to end the war in afghanistan and bring our troops home now. the president's announcement last month does not reflect a significant policy change in afghanistan.
this strategy does not represent a drawdown in afghanistan but rather aims at maintaining the status quo through the end of 2012. simply removing the 30,000 surge troops from afghanistan means that by the end of the summer of 2012, we'll be exactly where we were in late 2009. tens of thousands of american soldiers continue to fight a battle that their commanders insist will only end with a political solution. peace in afghanistan will depend ultimately on an afghan solution, not on american soldiers. everyone seems tired of this war but republicans and democrats in washington -- from republicans and democrats in washington, to afghans in kabul to americans a kansas. officials acknowledge that due to america's debt an deficits, war costs $120 billion annually for afghanistan alone are no longer sustainable.
republicans gained similar ground with defense subcommittee jack kingston and others expressing concern about the cost, the mission and lack of progress. senators also called for troop withdrawal. nearly half the house weighed in with a call for an accelerated plan to draw down troops and transition to afghan control. consider the afghans who are at the receiving end of all of this. after a series of serious civilian casualties resulting from multiple indiscriminate nato bombings, afghan president hamid karzai declared opposition to any and all air strikes on afghan homes. this adds to the call for them to end night roads and stay off roads and out of afghan villages. the afghan people are no more
pleased with karzai with america's continued presence, hardly a surprise given that general petraeus has increased bombing by 80% in the last year alone. according to a recent poll, nearly 6-10 afghans staid western troops must leave on or before the original july, 2011 withdrawal date. only 27% say the deemployment should be maintained longer. after spending hundreds of billions of american tax dollar the security and day-to-day life in many regions of afghanistan isn't improving. crime, economic opportunity, an freedom of movement are getting worse, not better. availability of electricity, food, medical care and schools has shown little or no improvement. in recent years. so for all these reasons and more the case is clear so they -- we need to end this war in afghanistan. thank you for this time.
the chair: for what purpose does the gentleman from california rise? the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. garamendi: i rise in opposition to the underlying bill and will seek an amendment shortly. memorial day was a time when four of my colleagues and i traveled throughout afghanistan. we learned a great deal, and what we did learn we brought home. 1,650 american men and women have died in afghanistan and yet the incredible dedication of american soldiers was easy to see. they risked their lives every day. it was with the utmost respect that we honor them on memorial day and beyond. i have great respect for the president and recognize the difficult situation and decision he must make. frankly, i think he made the wrong decision.
the killing of bin laden gave us the opportunity to pivot, to go in the direction we must ultimately go, which is to focus like a laser on al qaeda wherever it is in this world, including our own country. we must do that. and yet the decision to maintain in afghanistan a troop level that really reflects what existed in 2009 is not sustainable. it's costing us a fortune. a fortune that we could ill afford. this entire town is caught up in a debate over the deficit. and the pending default crisis. yet we seem to want to continue to pour money into afghanistan, into a five-way civil war for which there is no military solution. negotiations are essential.
yet is this country pushing forward the negotiations? if so, it's in secret. i certainly hope it is there. because therein lies the solution. i think we don't need 100,000, 50,000, 60,000 troops in afghanistan. we really only need a handful to focus on al qaeda. wherever they may be in that region. and so if we were to draw down our troops in the next 18 months to 25,000 in afghanistan and then 10,000 in 2013, we would be begin to get to a level over an appropriate course of time and it is this house's responsibility to put forth a -- an appropriation bill that provides money for only that. and no more. to limit the funding.
it's pretty clear the president has the power to initiate a war. it's equally clear that we have the only power, the only power to fund the war. and if we say no, then this war will cease. if we say only this amount of money, for only this purpose, then this war will rapidly domainish. there will be amendments on the floor shortly to achieve that goal. and we ought to proceed in that way. we need to rebuild america. we need to bring the money and the troops home. and rebuild this nation. we can do so when this war is over. until then, this is a -- this is something into which we are pouring the lives of american men and women, and afghan men and women, and our treasure to the detriment of this nation's economic strength. i oppose this war along with my colleagues and i'd ask this
house, democrat and republican alike, to use the power of the purse to bring this war to a rapid and appropriate close. and fund the negotiations. fund the war on al qaeda, not the war in afghanistan. >> will the gentleman yield? mr. garamendi: yes. mr. -- >> we're borrowing $2.3 billion per week, $28.3 million per -- billion per day. we are having a debate right now over how we get the debt under control and these borrowed moneys are not even a subject of discussion. mr. mcgovern: if you want to get the debt down, you have to deal with the war costs and i can't believe for those
advocating the status quo that they don't want to pay for it. it's going on a credit card. i think that's unacceptable. this is an enormous cost to us here in our own country. i thank the gentleman. mr. garamendi: reclaiming my time -- the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. garamendi: i yield. the chair: for what purpose does the gentlelady from california rise? >> to address the house. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized. >> i am opposed to the underlying bill to withdraw our troops from afghanistan. earlier this month, the president made an important announcement, he plans to withdraw 10,000 troops from afghanistan in a month and another 20,000 by next summer. ms. chu: i commend the president for drawing through -- following through with a drawdown plan. but the american people are crying for a significant drawdown and we are still too far from that. even after the troops come home, which won't be for another year and a half, we
will still be exactly where we were in 2009. 70,000 american soldiers will still be serving in afghanistan and i can't help but wonder why. the ongoing financial and human cost of this war are now indefensible. we spend $2 billion a week on the war effort in afghanistan and what's worse is that our own money is working against us. last year, i was outraged to learn that taxpayers are spending $2.16 billion on private contractors in afghanistan. these contractors use part of the money to pay off local war lords which then end up in the taliban's hands. in effect, we're funding both sides of the same war. this corruption and waste of hard-earned american dollars is the direct result of unreliable counsel and a lack of perspective and it's costing us a whopping $100 billion a year.
that's five times more than we spend on pell grants every year. financial aid to put american kids through college. that's double what we spend on medicaid that keeps all americans healthy regardless of income. and $100 billion would completely pay for the homeland security department, commerce department, department of sipes and the entire judicial branch combined. when money is tight and congress is trying to slash medicare and social security to keep this nation afloat, it is irresponsible to keep writing blank checks for this war. but sadly, that's not the largest toll of this war. since 9/11, we've lost over 1,600 american lives, over 11,000 troops have been wounded and an untold number of afghan civilians have lost their lives after a decade of war. and it's not getting any better. in fact, last year was the most deadly year on record for u.s. troops in afghanistan. al qaeda is no longer in